Are the 144,000 the only ones that will be Saved?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Book of Revelation in the New Testament contains a vision seen by the Apostle John that includes specific references to two groups: the 144,000 and a great multitude. To understand whether the 144,000 are the only ones who will be saved, it is important to examine these groups closely within the context of Revelation and other supporting Scriptures in the Bible. By doing so, we can gain clarity on the nature of these groups and their roles in the context of salvation and eschatology.

The 144,000

The mention of the 144,000 occurs in two key passages in the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 7:1-8 describes the sealing of the 144,000: “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.”

This passage clearly identifies the 144,000 as being composed of twelve thousand individuals from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. They are sealed on their foreheads as servants of God, indicating divine protection and ownership.

Revelation 14:1-5 provides additional details about the 144,000: “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

Here, the 144,000 are depicted as standing with the Lamb (Jesus Christ) on Mount Zion. They have the Father’s name written on their foreheads, sing a unique song, and are described as pure and blameless. They are called “firstfruits to God and to the Lamb,” indicating a special role in the divine plan.

The Great Multitude

Immediately following the description of the sealing of the 144,000, Revelation describes another group: the great multitude.

Revelation 7:9-17 states: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'”

This passage presents the great multitude as a countless assembly from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They stand before the throne of God and the Lamb, worshiping and proclaiming that salvation belongs to God and to the Lamb. The elder explains that they have come out of the great tribulation and have been purified by the blood of the Lamb, indicating their salvation through Jesus Christ.

The Relationship Between the 144,000 and the Great Multitude

The two groups, the 144,000 and the great multitude, are distinct but interconnected within the broader narrative of Revelation. The 144,000 are described as the firstfruits, suggesting they have a unique role in the divine plan. Their sealing implies they are specially chosen and protected servants of God during the tribulation period.

The great multitude, on the other hand, represents a diverse group of saved individuals who have endured and emerged from the final “time of trouble” (Daniel 12:1-2). Their salvation is explicitly linked to their faith in Jesus Christ and their purification through His sacrifice.

The Role of the 144,000 in the Salvation of the Great Multitude

While the Bible does not explicitly detail the exact nature of the ministry of the 144,000, it is reasonable to infer that their witness and testimony play a significant role in the salvation of the great multitude. The description of the 144,000 as firstfruits and their close association with the Lamb suggest they have a pivotal role in God’s redemptive plan during the tribulation.

The great multitude’s emergence from the final “time of trouble” (Daniel 12:1-2) indicates they have been influenced and brought to faith during this tumultuous period. It is conceivable that the ministry of the 144,000 after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the form of the “latter rain” includes evangelism and witness, leading many to faith in Jesus Christ.

Supporting Scriptural Evidence

Several other New Testament passages support the idea that salvation is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ, not just a limited group like the 144,000.

John 3:16-17 emphasizes the universal offer of salvation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

This passage affirms that salvation through Jesus Christ is available to anyone who believes, underscoring the inclusive nature of the gospel.

Acts 2:21 reiterates the accessibility of salvation: “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

This verse, part of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, highlights the universal offer of salvation to all who call upon the Lord.

Romans 10:9-13 further confirms this inclusive message: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.'”

Paul’s teaching reinforces that salvation is available to all, regardless of ethnicity or background, through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Mission and Witness of Believers

The New Testament repeatedly calls believers to witness and evangelize, implying that the gospel is intended for a wide audience beyond a select few.

Matthew 28:19-20 contains the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations underscores the universal scope of the gospel mission.

Acts 1:8 records Jesus’ instructions to His disciples: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The mandate to witness “to the end of the earth” again highlights the inclusive nature of the gospel message.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the New Testament, particularly the Book of Revelation, presents the 144,000 and the great multitude as distinct yet interconnected groups within the context of salvation and eschatology. The 144,000 are depicted as specially chosen servants of God, sealed and protected during the tribulation, likely playing a significant role in evangelizing and witnessing to others. The great multitude, composed of individuals from every nation, tribe, people, and language, emerges from the great tribulation, having been saved through their faith in Jesus Christ and purified by His sacrifice.

The broader teachings of the New Testament affirm that salvation is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ. The inclusive nature of the gospel is emphasized through numerous passages, underscoring that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. The mission of believers to witness and evangelize further supports the idea that the gospel is intended for a wide audience.

Therefore, while the 144,000 have a unique role within God’s redemptive plan, they are not the only ones who will be saved. The great multitude represents a vast and diverse assembly of saved individuals, highlighting the universal scope of God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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